- Pain is tissue damage that leads to discomfort and unpleasant experience.
- People feel pain when pain signals travel from the brain to the body.
- Everyone feels pain differently. Some pains are mild, while others can be chronic.
- Pain conditions can be both short-term and long-term.
- There can be different causes for different types of pain.
- Pain can be a neuropathic, phantom, or central.
- There are various ways helpful for the management of pain.
- Medications like opioids are useful in pain relief.
Everything You Need to Know About Pain
Pain is an emotional experience and an unpleasant sensation that links to tissue damage. Individuals feel discomfort when a pain signal travels through nerve fibers to the brain. The pain experienced is different for everyone, and there are numerous ways to feel and describe the pain.
Pain can be of short or long duration and stay at one location or spread around the body. A person feels pain when specific nerves called nociceptors detect tissue damage and transmit information along the spinal cord to the brain.
The pain reflexes occur so fast that sometimes messages do not even reach the brain. However, once pain messages arrive, a person feels an unpleasant discomforting sensation called pain.
The interpretation of these pain signals by the brain and the communication channel’s efficiency between the brain and the nociceptors define how a person experiences pain.
Our brain also sends “feel good” chemicals such as dopamine to try managing the unpleasant effects of pain.
Pain has two major classifications:
Acute pain is usually intense and short-term. It is a pain through which our body alerts us to localized tissue damage or an injury. Treatment of the underlying cause resolves acute pain.
Acute pain conditions trigger the fight-or-flight mechanism of the body, resulting in fast breathing rates and heartbeats.
The different types of acute pain include somatic pain, visceral pain, and referred pain.
Chronic pain lasts for longer than acute pain, and often there is no cure for it. It can be both mild and severe. Chronic pain can either be continuous as in case of arthritis, or intermittent as in case of migraine. A person experiences intermittent pain on repeated occasions, but it stops in between flares.
The fight-or-flight mechanism eventually stops in people with chronic pain as their sympathetic nervous system triggering these reactions adapts to the pain stimulus.
Pain Relief Basics
- People have varying clinical responses in reaction to the pain.
- Typically, the sympathetic nervous system releases epinephrine chemicals to relieve pain, which produces increased blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiratory rate.
- Several factors get involved in altering a person’s response to pain.
- For intense pain conditions, it is necessary to administer pain medications.
- Health care providers should assess the pain by finding its underlying cause.
- Doctors obtain a person’s vital signs for pain through pain assessment mnemonic OPQRST:
- O- Onset
- P- Provoking factor
- Q- Quality
- R- Radiation
- S- Severity
- T- Time sequence
Health care providers treat different types of pain in different ways. A management strategy effective for one type of pain may not relieve another pain condition.
Pain management is simple or complex, depending upon the cause of the pain. Pain management involves different skills and techniques, such as:
- Interventional processes
- Pain medications
- Chiropractic therapy
- Physical therapy
- Psychological counseling and support
- Referral to medical specialists
These skills and services are necessary for pain management as the pain can involve many aspects of your daily life.
Pain medications are useful in the effective management of acute or chronic pain. Two main types of pain medications widely valuable for the United States include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs are pain relievers or analgesics that reduce pain and help you regain daily functions. These medications are available at a range of strengths on prescription or over-the-counter. They are most suitable for minor acute pains, including light sprains, headaches, or backaches.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs relieve pain due to swelling and localized inflammation. They may have digestive system-related side effects, such as bleeding. Therefore, doctors should monitor a person taking a high dose of NSAIDs.
The most common NSAIDs frequently useful in pain management are:
Opioid analgesics are the prescription for most extreme acute pain conditions, such as pain resulting from surgery, burns, bone fractures, or cancer. They are the most potent pain reliever available for pain management. Opioids are highly addictive and can cause withdrawal symptoms, so they are generally available on prescription only.
Situations that involve severe trauma and pain will have a doctor carefully manage and administer the dose of opioids, and gradually reducing the dosage while discontinuing to minimize withdrawal symptoms.
The most common opioid medications available for pain relief in the United States include:
Tramadol is a generic medication that treats moderate to moderately severe pain conditions. It is an opioid available in immediate-release formulations of strengths 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg, and 300 mg.
Norco is a brand medication that contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen in combination. It is an amalgamation of an opioid and a non-opioid. It helps treat moderate to severe pain. Norco is available in the oral formulation of strengths 5/325 mg, 7.5/325 mg, and 10/325 mg.
Vicodin is a brand medication that contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen in combination. It is an amalgamation of an opioid and a non-opioid. It is helpful in treating moderate to severe pain. Vicodin is available in the oral formulation of strengths 5/300 mg, 7.5/300 mg, and 10/300 mg.
Oxycodone is an opioid helpful for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. It is an oral medication available in two forms: immediate-release form and an extended-release form. Oxycodone also comes as a brand-name medication OxyContin.
Percocet is a brand medication that contains oxycodone and acetaminophen in combination. It is an amalgamation of an opioid and a non-opioid. It is helpful in treating moderate to severe short-term pain. Percocet is available in the oral formulation of strengths 2.5/325 mg, 5/325 mg, 7.5/325 mg, and 10/325 mg.
Lortab is a brand medication that contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen in combination. It is an amalgamation of an opioid and a non-opioid. It is helpful in treating moderate to severe pain. Lortab is available in the oral formulation of strengths 5/325 mg, 7.5/325 mg, and 10/325 mg.
Ultram is a brand medication that contains tramadol. It is useful in treating moderate to moderately severe pain. It is an oral medication available as a capsule-shaped tablet in 50 mg of tramadol.
Dilaudid is a brand medication that contains hydromorphone. It is an opioid analgesic to treat mild to severe pain. Dilaudid is an oral medicine available in the formulations of an oral solution and conventional tablets in the strengths of 2mg and 4 mg.
Pain relief is vital as pain conditions can cause severe discomfort and disturb daily life functioning. While choosing a pain medication for them, a person should keep in mind the safety, effectiveness, efficacy, and side effects of the particular medicine.